We want tomorrow to be better

I didn’t write this, but think it bears repeating for its message because don’t we all want a better tomorrow. Especially after the last couple days.

Box o' Ducks

I’m sitting on the porch, enjoying the shade, the breeze and the quiet rustle of leaves. Church bells chime every hour, and cyclists pedal by. The parking spaces lining the streets and in the parking lots are almost empty and few cars pass by. A monarch butterfly flutters past. A yellow swallowtail stops briefly to investigate the phlox. A few bees buzz among the flowers lining the walk.

Sitting here is something I have resisted for some time now. Passers-by occasionally want to talk, and I’ve felt such an intense need for privacy I wait until nightfall to collect the mail or take out the trash. I’ve needed that peace so desperately, I sacrificed going outdoors even in the most beautiful weather.

Someone told me about a neighbor who worked in her garden only after dark, weeding and pruning by moonlight. Had I not heard that rumor and been afraid…

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Bend down, put your head between your legs….

I grew up a few years beyond “Duck and Cover” but I certainly remember the nightmares produced by the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I don’t want others to go through this so I definitely wanted to share Barbara’s writing.

From the Keyboard

C111 A bomb drills in NY-2 Bomb Drill in NY elementary school

I lived this. Many readers will not have. The instruction was ridiculous, designed to lull children into thinking they would be protected if they followed a simple instruction: Duck and Cover.

Our teachers knew better, and among themselves edited the directive to reflect the truth, but tried not to say it in front of us. Later, of course, we all recalled hearing it, and laughed. What else could we do?

I was in high school during the Vietnam War protests, as well the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. A nuclear holocaust felt unlikely, but the sight of so many young men sacrificing their lives, coming home maimed or in body bags triggered a new slogan, this time to the President: “Hey, hey, L.B.J, how many kids did you kill today?”  It seemed no matter which side you were on, you…

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The journey of a thousand miles…July

…starts with a single step. In this pedometer geek’s quest (actually more of a in-solidarity-with challenge through a friend, Cally C of Great Britain) of walking a thousand miles in a year, an added dimension was added in July. In addition to putting the usual steps on the pedometer, this pedometer geek decided to participate in the Million Mile Month organization’s Triathlon in a Month by setting a goal of one hundred miles through various activities including walking.

This pedometer geek was successful in the Triathlon, achieving more than a hundred miles (~ 111 miles) by walking (~ 93 miles) and biking (~17 miles) respectively. There were a few miles (based on minutes) logged under gardening, but they were inconsequential to the total. However, because of the biking, fewer steps were logged than normal, or so it is hypothesized by this walker. Only 246,035 steps were recorded on the pedometer during the month, and only 52,486 of them were aerobic steps, both of which were lower totals than in the previous months. The goal of 10,000 or more steps was only accmplished on eight days. Toward the goal of thousand miles, another 92.94 miles were ticked off leaving 346.12 miles to complete with five months to go.

In other challenges, the two Bookcrossing.com challenges in which this pedometer geek participates had mixed results as well. First, in the SIY (set-it-yourself) challenge, another quarter began, and fifteen books were chosen to read during this time frame despite falling short of last quarter’s SIY reading goal. Two of the books were left over from the previous quarter’s list and they were added to the thirteen chosen. Only two of the fifteen have been read so far, making reading more focused in August and September if the other thirteen are to be completed.

In the other Bookcrossing.com challenge, the pages-read challenge, good progress was made. Of the 40,000 pages to be read over the course of the year, another 3,950 pages were read bringing the total to 28,424 pages read. This equates to about 71% complete.

During the month of July, eleven books, one novella, and eight short stories were read. Various genres were read including historical fiction, suspense, romance, mainstream fiction, and urban fantasy.  Four (or should it be five?) of the authors were new to this reader. All but three books were read in an e-book format. Does that mean that this reader has forsaken print books? Absolutely not, but many of them were more quickly obtained through the library’s e-media center than the regular library site, and this reader was caught up in a series.

In July, the following books, novella, and short stories were read:

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray  *

Poison Promise by Jennifer Estep

Black Widow by Jennifer Estep

Fates and Traitors by Jennifer Chiaverini  *

Blessings by Anna Quindlen

Spider’s Trap by Jennifer Estep

The Look of Love by Bella Andre

Bitter Bite by Jennifer Estep

Unwanted (novella) by Jennifer Estep

Unraveled by Jennifer Estep

8 Elemental Assassin short stories by Jennifer Estep  **

The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

Unlike most months, there is less diverse reading material than normal. Frankly, this reader spent most of my reading time reading from the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series by Jennifer Estep. ** This included reading free short stories of the characters from her website, http://www.jenniferestep.com. More about this series will be posted on this reader’s review site, http://www.pedometergeek.wordpress.com, after completion of the last novella and the most current book in the series, Snared, but I digress. Suffice it to say, I love escaping in this author’s works and never thought that I would get so hooked on the urban fantasy genre.

As for the other books read, two of the novels were historical novels. Jennifer Chiaverini’s Fates and Traitors was a novel about John Wilkes Booth and four women who were close to him and thus, knew him well. Well researched, it told his story, fleshing out the man who killed Lincoln.

The other historical novel, Marie Benedict’s The Other Einstein, featured Maria, the first wife of Albert Einstein, who was as brilliant as Einstein himself. In fact, based on the novel, she may have been the one who came up with many of his breakthroughs including the Theory of Relativity while he found ways to take all the credit himself.

Bella Andre’s novel, The Look of Love,  is a contemporary romance. The Good Widow, co-authored by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, is a suspense-thriller; and Blessings is a mainstream novel of the redemptive power of an abandoned baby and the people who take her into their family. Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray is also a mainstream novel, but won’t be discussed here as it was reviewed on http://www.pedometergeek.wordpress.com so check it there.

That’s it for now; suggestions on books are always welcomed. SIY books are asterisked.

 

 

 

 

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To Promote Antibiotic Stewardship – how about a glimpse of my daughters’ antibiotic use?

Another pharmacist wrote this, but I concur. My sons were prescribed a few more antibiotics than her children, but frankly not many. Many infections are viral, and don’t require antibiotics (and if prescribed, increase the chance for antibiotics resistance, that is being ineffective). Thanks drugopinions for this insightful blog.

drugopinions

I realize there is so much talk and education on how we should prescribe antibiotic more appropriately. A discussion on antibiotic stewardship may sound very sexy but the public may not be able to connect to such term. In essence, antibiotic stewardship is an initiative to promote appropriate antibiotic prescribing, to improve patient outcomes and to reduce antibiotic resistance. Maybe making it personal will help – and I mean let’s look at my daughters’ antibiotic use.

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Just don’t think

I didn’t write this, but it is well worth reading for its message. Thanks Jane for writing it.

Box o' Ducks

Many years ago a friend and I met another friend for lunch. He’d retired early to care for his wife, who’d been stricken with early-onset Alzheimer’s. A home health-care aide visited a few hours a week to stay with her, so he could buy groceries, pick up medicine, or get a haircut. On this day, he chose to use this valuable time to meet us at a restaurant.

They had several children, who never visited. They couldn’t bear seeing the woman who was no longer their mother, he said. He forgave them, but there was an edge of bitterness in his voice.

He knew something was wrong when he found a gallon of milk beneath the sink. The disease progressed quickly, and in a few short months the mother of his six children babbled incoherently, and was constantly in motion – pacing, trying to unlock the door, apparently unaware of…

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The journey of a thousand miles…June

…starts with a single step, and this pedometer geek is working towards goal of walking a thousand miles this year (thanks to the challenge by my friend Cally C of Great Britain). Although this pedometer geek has a daily goal of 10,000 steps (and frequently misses the mark), never has the mileage been tracked to this degree. During the month of June, the journey was reduced by 93.92 miles leaving about 440 miles to go.

June’s number of steps were similar to May’s steps. With one less day in the month, this pedometer geek put 250,879 steps on the pedometer. Of these, 77,184 were aerobic steps obtained over all but three days, and there were only eleven days when the goal of 10,000 or more steps was met.

With the advent of July, the Million Mile Month has presented another challenge: a Triathlon in a Month, with the “sports” determined by the individual. Like April’s challenge, the goal is fluid in that the participant can choose any number of miles and can join in even now. This pedometer geek has chosen a hundred miles as the goal, and so far, has been both walking and bicycling toward the goal. In fact, as of this post, over a quarter of the goal has been met.

Switching to the other topic of interest to this poster are the reading goals. Two goals through http://www.bookcrossing.com were continued. As the quarter ended, the first of two goals (the SIY challenge), ended with this reader falling short of completing the quarter’s  books. Of the twelve books chosen, all were but two were completed. Despite falling short of completion, this reader has decided to give the challenge another go in the present quarter. Including the two uncompleted books, fifteen books were chosen for the quarter ending at the end of September.

On the other hand, in the pages-read challenge, this reader read another 3,655 pages bringing the yearly total to 24,474 pages of the 40,000 pages (approximately 61% completed) chosen as the goal.

Nine books were read during the month. Most were mainstream novels, but there were also various genres read including a couple books from a series. Four authors were new to this reader, and four of the books were read in an e-book format.

In June, the following books were read and/or completed:

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs *

Queen of the Trailer Park by Alice Quinn

Be Frank with Me by Alice Claiborne Johnson *

Heart of Venom by Jennifer Estep

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

The Santangelos by Jackie Collins *

Leaving Lucy Pear by Anna Solomon *

The Spider by Jennifer Estep

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah *

Several of the novels (Family Tree, Be Frank with Me, The Santagelos, and Leaving Lucy Pear) were reviewed on http://www.pedometergeek.wordpress.com. Briefly, the others are categorized into the various genres. Alice Quinn’s novel is a mystery; Jennifer Estep’s novels are both part of her Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series; Porter’s novel is a children’s classic; and Hannah’s novel could be classified as either women’s fiction or mainstream depending. While each could be discussed further, due to lack of time and other pressing concerns, they won’t be; however, consider checking them out as there are some fun as well as thoughtful reads in the bunch.

Until next time, keep reading and keep moving. I know I will be.

And yeah, suggestions always welcomed.

(asterisked books part of the Set-It-Yourself Challenge)

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Annie’s Bicycle

Annie always wanted a red bicycle, that is, once she outgrew her twenty inch sea-foam green one, but back then, there really wasn’t much selection. Girls’ bikes were blue; the boys’ bikes were red with a bar, but first, she had to learn to ride her bike.

Training wheels helped when she began, but soon they were raised, lifted off the ground. For Annie, it only made her feel unbalanced and when she fell, and she fell all too often, it only made it more difficult to get back on her bicycle again. Her younger sister Carrie had a smaller bike, blue and red, but she was struggling, too. Finally, their dad took the training wheels off their bikes, probably deciding it was time they learned to ride.

One early summer evening, Carrie, Annie, and their friend Teri were playing in their front yard when their older sister Kelly said she’d help them learn to ride their bikes. Carrie rolled her bike out from the garage. Straddling the pedals, Carrie extracted a promise from her sister that she’d hold on. The pair began to move; Carrie pedaling and Kelly running beside her and holding on as she told Carrie, “Pedal as fast as you can.”  A few feet beyond, Kelly let go and Carrie was riding on her own. Next came Teri, and the same routine commenced with the same exultation.

Not so, for Annie. Having seen the trick in action twice, she was skeptical and kept falling off before she could get going on her own. Eventually, Kelly gave up as Annie refused to even try.

Soon all of her younger friends in the neighborhood began to ride independently up and down the street and driveways. Everyone but Annie, that is. No matter how many times she was offered help, she knew what would happen, and it did. She started pedaling, the person would let go, and she’d fall. Annie thought she’d never learn to ride her bike.

One hot July afternoon, all of the neighborhood kids were all over at Annie’s house trying to decide what to do. Should they play hide-n-go-seek? Tag? Or something less hot? All the while, Annie kept getting on her bicycle and trying to ride. Over and over again, she’d put her foot on the pedal and push off. Time after time, she’d fail, the bike clattering to the grass.

Fortunately, nobody was paying attention to Annie as she continued to climb on the lower pedal and push off, or so she thought. The more frustrated she got, the more determined she became to do it on her own. Annie kept at until finally she managed to ride. Not very far, not very fast, but she did it!

“Hey, Annie!”  someone yelled, but she didn’t hear who as she ran into the house to tell her mom. She fell into her mom’s arms nearly sobbing.

“Mom, I rode my bike,” Annie said, and her mom said how proud she was of her.

After she calmed down and went outside again, it was like a new day. Annie could hold her head up because finally she could ride a bike like everyone else. What everyone finally decided to do that day, who knows. For Annie, the day was already a success.

******

Over time, Annie outgrew her little bike, but then so did Kelly. At that time, Kelly rode a blue twenty-four inch bike with balloon tires. It was this bike that was given to Annie when her parents bought a brand new larger bicycle for Kelly. Her new one was blue, of course, with sleek, shiny fenders, and thinner tires. It was so pretty compared to Kelly’s castoff, but that was Annie’s new bike as Carrie took over Annie’s hand-me-down.

At first, Annie was disappointed with the oldest of the bikes, but soon she discovered that those fat tires, that everyone seemed to make a joke of, were great when it came to racing. The bike looked slow, but it could move especially when coasting. More than one person was surprised by the bike’s speed, and Annie was almost sorry when the bicycle was replaced a couple years later for a brand new bike similar to the one Kelly had been given. It was perfect, and it was the bike that Annie rode until she went away to college.

After college, Annie decided to purchase another bike. One with gears, a racer, definitely fancier than anything she’d ever had before. But most important, she wanted a bike that was red. By now, bikes came in all colors, not just red and blue. She actually went to a bike shop where she was fitted for a bike. In stock there were many  colors including a deep red; however, there weren’t any red ones in her size. Even now, Annie rides a sleek silver racing bike.

 

 

 

 

 

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